Tag Archives: Lucy Dacus

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Hamilton Leithauser’s Remarkable Friday Night in Williamsburg

February 27th, 2017

Hamilton Leithauser – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 24, 2017

Hamilton Leithauser – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 24, 2017
Call it New York City’s other sold-out Hamilton show, although this one showcases not a rapping founding father but one of the best voices in rock right now, the strained high range of Hamilton Leithauser’s, which will catch you off guard with its sheer power. “I use the same voice I always had,” he belted out in the closing lines of “Sick as a Dog,” the opener on Friday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. It was the first display of his voice in full force, firing off like the starting pistol for a remarkable night of music, the second of three local sold-out shows. Multi-instrumentalist and collaborator Rostam Batmanglij, Eric Harvey of Spoon, Greg Roberts and Stephen Patterson of White Rabbits—whom Leithauser had met touring over the years with his previous band, the Walkmen—joined the frontman.

They sounded like they’ve been playing together forever, a band perfectly suited for Leithauser and Batmanglij’s bluesy rock songs that fit perfectly well within the American songwriting canon. “If the man that you need honestly wasn’t me, tell me honey who could that be?” sang Leithauser in a desperate pleading voice over a wavering organ. With its lush sound, his 12-string took the slow-building “In a Black Out” from simmer to a boil and back to a simmer. He told the audience a story about attending a wedding where the father of the bride made a toast and broke out into “Wild Mountain Thyme.” Apparently an awkward affair for everyone else at the wedding, Leithauser fell for the guy in the moment, writing the tender song “The Bride’s Dad” from the father’s perspective. Knowing the song’s background set an incredibly vivid scene of the affair.

The catchy “1,000 Times” followed with hundreds of voices joining in for the chorus. Free-jazz saxophone and Batmanglij’s piano rambling like a rolling river closed out the set with “Rough Going (I Won’t Let Up).” Leithauser’s wife, Anna Stumpf, and the opener, Lucy Dacus, came out for an encore performance of the dreamy “1959.” If the Walkmen were the first act of Leithauser’s career, this collaboration is a hell of a second act, one that shouldn’t see a curtain call anytime soon. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com

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Lucy Dacus Leaves No Room for Debate at Mercury Lounge

October 20th, 2016

Lucy Dacus – Mercury Lounge – October 19, 2016

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It was debate night in America on Wednesday, but there was little debate necessary for the late-show crowd at Mercury Lounge because it was quite clear that on at least one stage last night there was a woman—Lucy Dacus—kicking butt. She came out solo to open with “Historians,” a power move, the full room’s chitchat immediately silenced by her voice, a preview of a unique point of view and lyrical prowess. The rest of the band then joined Dacus to get the show going proper with “Troublemaker Doppelganger,” a blast of Richmond, Va., rock and roll, chunky and funky, the singer-songwriter in fine form, rhyming magazines and peonies, in a world where she can leave her “doors wide open.”

Dacus’s voice and demeanor gave the impression of an uneasy balance of vulnerability and strength that carried over into her music. Working mostly from her acclaimed album, No Burden, she began many songs with just her voice before unleashing the band into an agitated state of guitars, bass and drums. With songs like lead-single “I Don’t Want to Be Funny Anymore” and lyrics like “Oh please, don’t make fun of me,” there seemed to be a running theme of the lingering, all-too-real pains of adolescence. Occasionally, Dacus would even pull the guitar close to her chest, almost as if she were tightly holding books in a high school hallway, fighting to be both noticed and not to be noticed.

A couple of newer songs were the most musically interesting, one in which she sang about being “as good as anybody” kicked off as a sultry, jazz lounge–blues thing before Dr. Jekyll-ing into something more fanged and angry. Another began, again, with Dacus solo and exposed, stripped down emotionally but with a hidden compositional complexity, the band finally kicking in for some of the heaviest rocking of the night over several distinct sections. After announcing a next-day departure for their first Europe trip, a step to likely bigger and better things, the quartet finished with “Pillar of Truth,” a build-to-climax closer and a powerful summation. No burden and no debate. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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Catch Lucy Dacus Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

October 18th, 2016

Singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus “has a voice that’s easy to warm up to. Her honeyed tones are comforting a soulful, closer to the jazzy pop of someone like Feist than the stream-of-consciousness sing-speak of Courtney Barnett,” according to American Songwriter. “It’s one of the Richmond, Va., singer-songwriter’s greatest strengths. Even when the subject matter is fraught with sadness or uncertainty, it’s never delivered in such a way as to set the listener on edge.” Her first studio album, No Burden (stream it below), came out earlier in the year before Matador Records reissued it late this past summer. Paste claims that she “challenges the little boxes everyone seems forced into at one time or another, exposing them for the weak material they’re built from. In the process, she’s created a debut record with an abundance of heart that should speak to anyone with a pulse of their own.” Dacus (above, performing “I Don’t Want to Be Funny Anymore” live in studio for Audiotree Live) kicks off a European tour on Friday, but you won’t have to travel far to see her tomorrow at Mercury Lounge. Brooklyn’s Bellows open the show.

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Car Seat Headrest Prove Why They’re a Hot Ticket

September 16th, 2016

Car Seat Headrest – The Bowery Ballroom – September 14, 2016

Car Seat Headrest – The Bowery Ballroom – September 14, 2016
Playing the first of two sold-out shows in New York City this week—with a breakout album in tow—Car Seat Headrest are certainly a band of the moment. Before they got a chance to show the Thursday night Bowery Ballroom crowd why they’re a hot ticket right now, something that might be “what’s next,” in the form of Lucy Dacus and her band, got the evening going. Hailing from the recent hotbed of great music and indie-rock personalities, Richmond, Va., Dacus combined her unique voice, terrific songs and musicians with the propensity to kick out the rock. Songs from her own breakout album, No Burden, like “I Don’t Want to Be Funny Anymore” and “Troublemaker Doppelgänger,” took new life onstage to the audience’s delight.

After a quick changeover, the room now filled to capacity, the headliners began with frontman Will Toledo solo on “Way Down,” a two-chord-ish slow-burner with a repeated chorus. The opener’s simplicity was a bit of a tell on the rest of a set filled with songs that seemed straightforward punky lo-fi on the surface but proved to be filled with interesting complications and fun developments. Indeed, when the band joined in for what Toledo later described as a “reinterpretation” of “Cosmic Hero,” off of Teens of Denial, there was plenty more than met the eye. The tune flitted through multiple sections of varying intensity, Ethan Ives’ bass crunching throughout, eventually coughing up a single, almost perfectly realized chorus of the Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” midway through.

“Fill in the Blank,” up next, was all it took to completely enrapture the crowd, which exploded in a full-throated sing-along and pogoed with bounding energy that reached to the back of the room. The band successfully brought down things a couple of times, like on “Maud Gone,” but they were at their best on numbers like “Destroyed by Hippie Powers,” with its two-guitar mayhem and cross-rhythmic drumming. Between songs, Car Seat Headrest returned a few times to a fun “ask the band” shtick, answering questions posed to them online such as “Why does [drummer] Andrew Katz like toilet humor?” The set ended as it began, Toledo solo with just his voice and guitar, a subtle punctuation to close out a wonderfully rambling paragraph of a set. Returning for an encore, they finished with another rager. It was called “Something Soon,” but Car Seat Headrest are undoubtedly something right now. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com

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Up-and-Comer Lucy Dacus Plays Rough Trade NYC Tomorrow Night

June 1st, 2016

Richmond, Va., singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus (above, performing “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” for Audiotree Live) has been getting a lot of love this year. In January, Rolling Stone labeled her a New Artist You Need to Know, adding that she “has a knack for writing disarmingly open indie rock songs, with plainspoken lyrics that hit even harder thanks to her soft, sturdy alto.” And that was before her debut full-length even arrived. No Burden (stream it below) came out in late February to a flood of praise. NPR proclaimed, “The power-pop songs are naturally rootsy, embodying an authentic Southern soul. Yet the 20-year-old singer-songwriter’s voice transcends her locale and her age, a confident blend of Sharon Van Etten’s aching power, Jenny Lewis’ cool drawl and Courtney Barnett’s bright wit.” While Pitchfork added, “Lead guitar lines pour in the like slow columns of sunlight, and Dacus’ voice itself is a comforting blur.” Find out what all the fuss is about when she plays Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night. Local favorite Sam Cohen opens.

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Houndmouth Headline a Terrific Lineup at Terminal 5 on Saturday

April 21st, 2016

Matt Myers (vocals and guitar), Zak Appleby (vocals and bass), Shane Cody (vocals and drums) and Katie Toupin (vocals and keys) formed the folk-rock-Americana quartet Houndmouth in the Louisville, Ky., suburb New Albany, Ind. Their first LP, From the Hills Below the City (stream it below), arrived in 2013. “Simple pleasures abound on the debut album from Indiana quartet Houndmouth: pure, true harmonies, precise playing, familiar themes about being lost and losing in America,” according to the Guardian. “Even the recording is lovely.” While out on the road, the band picked up new fans each night on tour thanks to their upbeat live shows filled with shared vocals and instrument swapping. Houndmouth (above, performing “Darlin’” live in studio for KEXP FM) returned last year with their sophomore release, Little Neon Limelight (stream it below). Per NPR Music: “Quite a bit of Houndmouth’s reputation has been built on exuberant live shows and the Greek chorus effect of all four voices joining in hale and hearty harmony during nearly every refrain. They tap those sensibilities in even more vital ways on Little Neon Limelight, with a youthful devotion to shaggy, swinging, big-screen storytelling that distinguishes their work from many of their more confessional, serious-minded peers.” With Toupin’s recent departure, they’ve added Caleb Hickman (keys), Drew Miller (horns) and Graeme Gardiner (horns)—and that six-piece is coming our way, on Saturday at Terminal 5, with two excellent singer-songwriters, Rayland Baxter and Lucy Dacus, opening the show.